Becoming trauma-informed was the moment all aspects of yoga and its philosophy finally made sense at a cellular level. For me, yoga is about finding a deep compassionate union with yourself, others, and the environment around you. Yoga is about less striving and forcing and more allowing and accepting. It is about building tolerance for discomfort within the physical and mental body in order to transcend obstacles and ‘limitations’. It is about loving kindness towards Self and others on this journey so we can continue to show up and do better every day.
Being trauma-informed means having no attachment to any particular outcome and no expectations as to how things ought to be. It is about allowing someone's journey or process to be whatever it needs for them and trusting the unfolding - fully knowing no one but them has the answers. We are here to hold space and to allow. It’s the moment we let everything be as it is, witnessing it all without engaging or interacting with it. This means we are ever-present with our own experience and all that is arising and occurring within while simultaneously bearing witness to those around us. A trauma-informed practitioner of any modality is someone who understands that there is nothing to fix, change, or heal within ourselves or anyone else. We understand that it is about tapping back into our innate resilience and gradually rediscovering and building our tolerance for everything the world inside and around us brings our way.
This has fundamentally changed the way in which I show up as a facilitator, friend, partner, human. It has given me the tools to be in relationship with my own trauma history but more importantly the tools to move forward, to be solution-based, and future-focused. It has allowed me the grace and humility to see each person for who they are right here and now and help them look towards the possibility of what the future can and does hold for them. Rather than looking for what’s wrong with people, we can look at what is strong within them and help cultivate robust, growth-focused humans that possess all the magic and wonder required to live a full life.
So what exactly is trauma-informed?
When I reflect on what it means to be trauma-informed I think about things like decency, humanity, compassion, wisdom, respect, and allowing. At its core, it is about being a decent human being and allowing others to be who and as they are. It’s about taking personal responsibility to know and do better every chance we get.
Trauma-informed as a practice means to know and understand the intricacies and complexities of trauma on a physical, mental, emotional, and energetic level. It means to understand the ways in which trauma can become stored in the body and how it can then manifest itself over time. It’s about constantly learning ways to hold space for survivors of trauma and how to help support them on their road back to themselves. It is about walking alongside and remembering that each survivor knows best and we are here as support. Being trauma-informed isn’t just being a good listener or empathetic - it’s about taking the time to educate yourself and continue to learn the ever-changing landscape of trauma. It is about truly putting your own agenda, thoughts, and ego to the side and powerfully showing up for the person in front of you.
Above all, being trauma-informed is knowing and wholeheartedly believing that no one is broken or damaged. No one is beyond help. We hold hope as a possibility, as a beacon of light, for those who may feel lost or overwhelmed because we know there is always room for evolution, transformation, and growth.
Next training: 23-25 July, Dunedin, New Zealand